We Moved (Pt. 4)

We are now on day 6 of our cross-country move. If you haven’t read about the earlier parts of our journey, go check them out now. Part 1 saw us leaving California. Part 2 brought us to New Mexico. We made it through most of Texas in Part 3. And now, we are headed to our new home.

Our goal for the day was to make it to New Orleans where The Husband’s older sister lives. Before heading to the highway, we had to make a stop at Shipley’s for apple fritters. We learned about Shipley’s in 2009 when we visited Houston to watch Navy play Mizzou in the Texas Bowl. We are rarely in Texas but we always try to stop for Shipley’s.

Once sugared up, we continued east along I-20 until we reached Shreveport where we hopped onto I-49 south. We got an early start and were able to make it to Alexandria, LA before we needed to stop for lunch and to do something fun.

It was stiflingly hot but the zoo looked like a fun stop for the kids. There were a few indoor areas where we could see snakes and other reptiles while remaining cool in the air conditioning.  We also rode the train and checked out their Australian Outback area.

We drove into downtown Alexandria after the zoo to grab some coffee and snacks for the kids. It happened to be the Burnt Weenie Festival the day we drove through town. Hilarious and very fun. They had a giant water slide set up in the middle of the street. There were fire hydrants spewing water. A band was playing under a pavilion set up in the street. We stopped in at Tamp and Grind which is an eclectic coffee shop in downtown. The kids enjoyed the delicious cookies (as did I) and and the coffee was great. The staff was really friendly. The barista and I learned we spent many years in the same cities. Overall, Alexandria was a great (and absurdly hot and humid) stop.

We continued on to New Orleans, arriving to The Husband’s sister’s house around dinner time. We called it a night after regaling childhood memories.

In the morning, we tried to take the ferry which is just a few blocked from my Sister-in-Law’s place but, as it was a weekend, it was running on a later schedule which we didn’t want to wait for. Instead, we hopped in the RV and drove the 10 minutes to Cafe Du Monde. After breakfast with a view and history lesson, we headed back to her house to drop her off and then set out for Pensacola.

We had a great drive until we reached Florida when it started pouring rain. We felt it was a nice “welcome home” from the state we so recently left. Before parking for the night, we stopped by the National Naval Aviation Museum. It is on base at NAS Pensacola but you don’t have to be military to enter. While The Husband was going through flight school, this was a favorite spot to take visitors. The boys loved checking out and sitting in a bunch of old planes and cockpits. They also rode in a simulator. It was a wonderful and free few hours where the boys could get out some energy while also learning about their dad’s career.

The Husband booked an awesome RV spot right on the water in Perdido Key. Since Florida was giving us a nice, wet welcome, we didn’t spend too much time outside but there was still a beautiful view out the back of the RV. When we woke up the next morning, there were clear skies as we look out over the bay.

We got another early start as this was the day. We were going to FINALLY make it to Jacksonville!!! By day 8 everyone was ready to be “home.” The drive from Pensacola to Jax is only around 5 hours without stops. You know how,when you really want to get somewhere it seems to take forever. That’s how day 8 felt. While the drive, including stops, only took about 7 hours, but it felt like 14. We were SO excited to see family.

Thankfully, the drive was uneventful and we were so happy to be with family once more. Keep following to learn about our adventures over the pas year in Jax. It’s been a fun ride!

What are your favorite spots in NOLA? What about Jax? We are always looking for fun places to visit and delicious spots to eat.

 

 

 

We Moved (Pt. 3)

Go back and check out Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 of our cross country journey, if you haven’t done so already.

Day 4 had us leaving New Mexico and headed for Texas. Leaving our AirBnB there were multiple hot air balloons flying. The pictures are of one landing as we were coming out of the neighborhood. Don’t mind the bug splatter all over the windshield. Blah!

 

 

Once on the road, there wasn’t a ton to see. We stopped at Cadillac Ranch. It was hot, dry, and dusty. If you are going, be prepared with spray paint and sun glasses. The wind was so strong it was blowing everyone’s hats off. It was a cool piece of Americana and I’m glad we stopped.

We continued ambling east along I-40 before shooting south on 287 toward Dallas. We booked a spot at Ole Towne Cotton Gin RV Park. This place was great! They had a small kids area, pool, little general store, community gathering place, and dog run. It was the perfect stop.

The next morning, we packed up and headed out for another day in Texas. Our first stop was for coffee. There are few options on 286 between Amarillo and Dallas but we were lucky to be close to a newly opened coffee and art shop, Turquoise Coffee Stop in Chillicothe. The owners built the place themselves. The mister is an artist and Jack-of-all-trades. The missus is the barista and chef. We each got our favorite coffee and a few delicious muffins. While our coffees were being prepared, the mister showed us around. His art work was all around for purchase and decoration. They were both very friendly and loved showing off their hard work. If you happen to be driving along 286 through Chillicothe, make sure to check it out. It’s worth a stop.

Once full of apple muffins and awakened by coffee, we continued on toward Dallas. We planned to stop at one of the aquariums in Dallas but while grabbing lunch a local advised us to go to Cabela’s in Fort Worth where there was a small aquarium and it was free! The boys were in heaven climbing on boats, feeding fish, and checking out the animals. tKZ0P1kuR5uouqfUCw4Mrw

The rest of the day had us driving along I-20, past Dallas and through east Texas. We stayed at a motel off the highway for the evening and ate delicious BBQ. It was nice to rest up for our final days of driving.

Have you driven across the US before? What’s your favorite part of long road trips?

We Moved! (Pt. 2)

If you didn’t catch my last post, go check it out. It is the beginning of our cross-country chronicles.

Day three was awesome! After a refreshing night sleeping in our AirBnB, we headed to breakfast at my grandparent’s home.  It is so fun watching our boys interact with their great-grandparents. They are so fortunate to have 6 living great-grandparents whom they have been able to spend time with.

From breakfast we headed into Albuquerque to visit Explora! If you find yourself in ABQ with younger kids, this is a great place to go.  The boys loved the water exhibit. We spent the majority of our time on the water patio. They also enjoyed making giant bubbles, building with giant foam blocks, creating circuits, and designing marble runs.

After the museum, we stopped for lunch at the public library downtown. They have a cute and delicious sandwich shop.

We were hoping to stop at A Park Above in Rio Rancho on the way home but we were able to find someone to pick up our Pilot and drive it from NM to FL for us! Instead of the park, we headed to meet the car transporter. Once the transfer was complete, we headed back to my grandparents house to relax a while before dinner. And when I say relax, I mean my grandpa got the boys riled up with a massive pillow fight.

After dinner and goodbyes, we headed back to Casita de Sterling for the night. Day 3 really was perfect.

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Explora Museum
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Explora Museum
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Good Morning, ABQ!

Have you every visited Albequerque or Rio Rancho? What were your favorite spots?

We Moved! (Pt. 1)

In the middle of May 2018 we got word that The Husband would be stationed back in Florida at the end of his deployment. With a bunch of family in Florida, and none in California, we decided to make the trek across the country before deployment. This meant a quick turnaround. We had to pack our entire house ourselves and to move before he left for deployment in early July.

After a good bit of research, we decided to give U-haul’s storage boxes a chance. About a month after we got orders, we packed our entire lives into 5 storage containers and started the journey across the country with two kids and a dog in a Class B RV.

Oh, that sounds so easy. It’s never that easy. We ran into one little hitch, the person we contracted to bring our other car across the country never showed up! So, on moving day, we started driving the RV and the Pilot. It’s wasn’t ideal but it worked.

Day one had us leaving Coronado, CA (goodbye good Mexican food) and heading to Gila Bend, AZ. We didn’t head out until around 2pm as The Husband had to work that morning. Have you ever driven east from San Diego. It’s filled with mountains and deserts. It was an enjoyable, beautiful, and fairly short drive. We stopped overnight at the Gila Bend KOA. We didn’t pull in until after dark and left early the next morning so I can’t say much about the place but the few people we ran into were friendly.

Day two saw us heading northeast to Rio Rancho, NM. The drive, without stopping every two hours because you have two kids, takes about 8 hours. It was a FULL day of driving. We left around 6am and arrived at my grandparents house around 8:30pm. After a short stop, we made it from their house to our AirBNB for a good nights sleep.

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View from Casita de Sterling

Part 2 is coming soon. Have you ever driving across the country? What were your favorite places to stop?

Planning Ahead – Military Style

 

I am currently planning to move across the country during my husband’s pre-deployment leave. Doesn’t sound that crazy except…we don’t have orders yet. Yup, I’m planning ahead. (I know all you fellow mil-spouses are laughing.) There is a chance, a small chance but still a chance, that we will find out in a few months that we are getting orders back to Florida. If we are headed back, I’d prefer go before this deployment and have family around rather than wait until he gets back, move in the middle of school year, and have no family support for the 7+ months he’s away. I should add, if the orders say Florida, we will have about 3 weeks to completely plan the move before it’s time to go.

I feel like a crazy person. I’m currently filling out school applications. I talked to my old boss and have a job lined up. (A GREAT job, at that, which I now really want! Haha!) I contacted our realtor and have been looking at homes online. I’m getting moving quotes. I’m researching PODS and SmartBoxes and 1-800-PACK-RAT and every other movable storage unit. I’m checking out stops along the drive. I’m in full planning mode, just as I’d be if we were actually moving. But we are probably not. (Crazy person!)

I think this is the life of so many military families though. If we don’t plan for the possibility, we are behind the curve. There is a common saying in this life, “Hurry up and wait.” You have to get a million things done as fast as you can, get everything turned in, be ready for anything. Then you wait to find out what’s actually happening. The waiting is the hardest part. Now that I’m getting prepared for this only slightly possible move, I’m playing the waiting game. It will likely be 3 months before we hear and 3.5 months before we *possibly* move to Florida.

In between all the planning and quotes and research and applications, I’m also trying to enjoy our time where we are. It’s beautiful in southern California right now and we are living it up! Let’s be real, those Florida summers are nothing like they are here and I’m soaking up every last bit of this Cali sunshine (even if that last bit is for 3 more years). 😀

 

 

 

Dreaming of Europe

Shortly before I turned four, I moved to southern Spain. My dad was in the military. We were actually supposed to go to Italy but, three weeks before our move, orders were changed and Rota was our new destination. It. Was. Amazing.

We lived in Spain for three years. I spent my summers traveling around Europe. I lived in a tiny, safe, friendly little town. In school we learned Spanish starting in first grade. I would spend my afternoons outside, wandering around base with friends. Each holiday was spent with all the neighbors. There would be 40 people at one house. It was fun. It was a great way to spend my early childhood. It’s what I want for my boys.

I have had the strongest desire to move to Europe recently. It has always been there but lately it has really been tugging at me. We can’t move overseas right now. We are in Ca for at least another year. After here we have four “options”, one of which is to stay put. The other three are Florida, Hawaii, or Japan. We have a few month to decide on which order we want to list our preferences but, lets be real, it doesn’t matter how we order them, we will get what the Navy needs from my husband. (Hence the quotes around options above.)

After the next tour, we *may* have the option to move to Europe, most likely to Germany. This is when it is supposedly easiest for us to be stationed in Europe. My husband can take a joint tour job and the boys and I will traipse around Europe. At that point, the boys will be 5 and 10. How perfect!! But (and it’s a BIG BUTT), I hate the cold. I struggle in southern California with the chilly weather. I had a hard time in the winters in Jacksonville, Florida because a few days would see highs in the 40’s. I’m that person who needs a jacket when it’s 73*. Eek!

Maybe we will be sent to Japan next and I’ll learn to live in the cold? Maybe I’ll be that ridiculous American wearing 3 pairs of pants, 5 top layers, a hat, scarf, multiple pairs of socks, boots, and a ski mask to leave the house when it’s 35*? And, let’s be real, when I would leave for work in Jacksonville on those cold days, I would most certainly be wearing all of that, minus the ski mask. Maybe I’m getting way ahead of myself and we won’t be given the opportunity to live in Germany?

Sigh. I think I’m going to watch another House Hunters International.

-KB

Balboa Park with a Toddler and First Grader

Wednesday’s are early release days at my son’s school. When the husband is away, like he is now, it makes for a looooong time before bed for the boys. I like to take them somewhere to pass the time. This week we explored Balboa Park which we haven’t done since moving back this summer.

We started at the United Nations Building and Gift Shop. There are a bunch of houses to check out from many different countries but they are only open on weekend. Boo! The gift shop was really cool though. My first grader loved checking out all the knick-knacks from different countries. He wants to come back on a weekend and explore the houses. I think it would be best without the toddler.

From there we headed to the Organ Pavilion. It’s a great place for kids to run around. I was hoping to tire out the toddler and knew this was a great place to get out energy. We spent about 20 minutes running and playing and yelling and having a ball. Perfect place for a toddler! The first grader loved it as well.

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Walking out of the pavilion, we stumbled upon the Japanese Friendship Garden. My first grader really wanted to check it out so we paid $10 (for me, the boys were free) and made our way through the garden. It was beautiful, although I didn’t get to enjoy much as I was trying to keep a 20 month old on the path and quiet(ish) while people were meditating. The boys both loved the water features, particularly the toddler who tried to throw rocks, leaves, and sticks into the ponds. (Joy!) If you’re visiting Balboa Park with a toddler, I suggest you skip this one. It’s beautiful but it’s hard to enjoy the beauty while focused on the 20 month old sprinting through the flowers.

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After leaving the garden, we walked to the Model Railroad Museum. If you’re kids are at all into trains, TAKE THEM HERE!! It was pretty cool. They had so many model trains. We got there 30 minutes before closing so it was just $4 for the three of us. Score! There were multiple windowed areas with huge landscapes and hundreds of feet of track. At the back there is an area really meant for kids. We spent 20 minutes back there until they kicked us out. The toddler kept saying “choo choo!” and the first grader asked me three times before we got to the car if we could come back. Success!ZuKfEPxsS3+mhDNjJTNcXQ                         zIZ6wDU2RC6CaY+Lg62Okw

We ended out Balboa Park trip with a walk by the art museum which is closed on Wednesdays. The boys ran around the front steps and ate a snack before we headed back to the car. All in all, a perfect afternoon.

-KB